With painful clarity, a 90-year-old survivor of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps recounted her traumatic experience at the hands of the Nazis at an event marking Holocaust Memorial Day hosted by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
Renee Salt spoke and answered questions from H&F residents following a play which explored the memories of Anne Frank’s stepsister Eva Schloss and her friend Ed Silverberg, both survivors of the Holocaust.
“It was harrowing but necessary to hear Renee Salt’s memories of that terrible time,” said Cllr Ben Coleman, cabinet member for resident satisfaction, who moderated the event.
“Holocaust Memorial Day reminds and warns us of the extreme cruelty people are capable of committing when they give way to discrimination, racism and religious intolerance.”
The play, And Then They Came For Me, combined recorded interviews with live actors recounting scenes from the survivors’ lives. It was written by James Still and produced and directed by Nic Careem.
About 100 people watched the play at Hammersmith Town Hall on Thursday (28 January). This followed a performance on Tuesday (26 January) for 240 children from Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith and The Hurlingham Academy in Fulham.
Holocaust Memorial Day falls on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, on 27 January 1945 and is dedicated to victims of the Nazi’s genocide and all others since.
And Then They Came For Me has been performed across the world, including at the UN and for Nelson Mandela. Its title is taken from a poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller after the Second World War.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me —
and there was no one left to speak for me.